Asset Integration for VFX is a 12-week live and online programme where students will be taught the fundamentals of 3D and 2D to integrate a photoreal CG asset into a series of live action backplates**. Through practical hands-on learning via live lessons and workshops, we’ll work through a wide range of topics covering the shot creation process.
This programme is the last of a series that will teach you how to build an asset and push it through the VFX pipeline to create a number of believable shots. You can enrol on this programme as a standalone, or if you’d like to develop a wider skillset, you can do so by joining us on Modelling Props for VFX and Surfacing Props for VFX.
Throughout the programme, we’ll also discuss other areas of the VFX pipeline that are integral to the success of any project, such as Production, Editorial, Grading, R&D, Recruitment, HR, Finance and Artist Management.
To underpin each stage of the CG pipeline and to push your creative, technical and problem-solving skills, we’ll study the fundamentals and the theory behind computer graphics. This includes traditional skills, art, cinematography, design, storytelling, function and form. This background research will directly feed into how we approach the creation of VFX shots.
The outcome of the programme is to provide you with a strong generalist skillset enabling you to have a core understanding of a VFX shot pipeline and an ability to apply these skills to real-world projects.
**Please note, the images below are only temporary and do not represent the final visual output of the programme.
Tutors and Industry Partners
This programme will be tutored by Jahirul Amin and throughout the programme, we’ll have guest tutors join us such as Christopher Antoniou, and interviews and discussions from industry professionals working at companies such as Clear Angle Studios, ILM, DNEG, MPC, Framestore, beloFX, Rebellion Film Studios, BlueBolt, Union VFX and more.
To complement the teaching, CAVE Academy are extremely proud to be working with an exceptional range of companies and individuals. Throughout the programme, they’ll be joining us for in-person review sessions, tech demos, interviews, and discussions. Working with industry will also allow us to give you first-hand contact with potential future employers from the outset.
The programme will be spread over 12 weeks and the weekly schedule will be as follows:
- Monday | Lectures and discussions | 10am – 12noon UK time
- Tuesday | Workshops | 10am – 1pm UK time
- Wednesday | Industry speaker session | 10am – 12noon UK time (occasional)
- Thursday | Self-study
- Friday | Dailies and Q&A | 10am – 1pm UK time
All sessions will be recorded and uploaded, however, we recommend you attend the live sessions, as being part of the community and asking questions is how you’ll best develop your skills and knowledge.
Week 1001 | Shot Pipeline Overview
Lecture | Introduction to the VFX Shot Pipeline
We’ll kick things off with a walkthrough of the VFX Shot Pipeline and how things flow from one department to the next.
Workshop | Approaching a VFX Shot and Colour Space
Our first workshop will cover how to go about tackling a VFX shot and we’ll set up our project folder structure and colour space for the project.
Assignment | Understanding Version Control and Referencing
Handling shots usually involves a lot updates when it comes to animation caches or asset updates. Here you’ll be tasked with figuring out how to handle such data.
Week 1002 | Data Acquisition
Lecture | Shoot Overview
In this lecture, we’ll run through a typical VFX shoot and what to consider for the requirements of a shot needing asset integration.
Workshop | Data Acquisition for VFX
This workshop will be a walkthrough of the data captured onset for this sequence of shots.
Assignment | Understanding the VFX Shoot Requirements
You’ll be provided with a series of scenarios, in which you will need to consider the requirements for VFX.
Week 1003 | Data Processing
Lecture | How Onset Data is used in the VFX Pipeline
With our data captured, now we need to figure out what each department requires and the intended use of the data.
Workshop | Processing your Shot Reference
In this workshop, we’ll go through the process of creating a HDRI, a panorama and sorting other data captured onset.
Assignment | Generating HDRIs, Lightmaps and Panoramas
Create a series of HDRIs, lightmaps and sort your data.
Week 1004 | Editorial
Lecture | Understanding the Cut
When working on a sequence, it is important to understand the bigger picture, even though you may be working on one shot. Here, we’ll explore the cut.
Workshop | Introduction to DaVinci Resolve
We’ll jump into Da Vinci Resolve this week to organise our shots and output our frames for post-production.
Assignment | Create your Sequence Edit
This week, you’ll need to prep and output your image sequences for post-production.
Week 1005 | Roto and Prep
Lecture | The Invisible Art of Roto and Prep
When done well, you’ll never know it happened. Here we will explore the hidden task of Roto and Prep.
Workshop | Removing Markers and Rotoscoping Workflows
We’ll jump into Nuke this week to clean up our plates.
Assignment | Clean up your Shot
As the name of the assignment suggest, your task this week is to clean up your shots by removing tracking markers and any other issues that may be present.
Week 1006 | Tracking
Lecture | Understanding the Camera and the Lens
By having an undertanding of how a camera works and a lens sees the world, you’ll be better prepared to handle shots where you have little to no onset information. This lecture will break down both the camera and the lens.
Workshop | Camera and Object Tracking
In this workshop, we’ll look at tracking our shots and a little object tracking.
Assignment | Track your Shots
Your task this week is to make sure you have a lined up set of cameras, ready for CG asset integration.
Week 1007 | Layout
Lecture | Storytelling through the Frame
This week, we’ll explore one aspect of cinematography, framing, and how we can use techniques to push the narrative.
Workshop | Sequence Management and Blocking in Katana
We’ll dive into Katana this week and start setting up our sequence template.
Assignment | Blocking out your Sequence
This week, we want you to get your sequence template up and running in Katana.
Week 1008 | Introduction to Lighting
Lecture | Painting with Light
Continuing with the theme of cinematograhy, we’ll now explore light and how we can use light to set the mood.
Workshop | Mood Lighting in Katana
Taking what we covered during the lecture, we’ll work in Katana to become a digital cinematographer.
Assignment | Setting the Mood
Your assignment this week is to block out a series of themes using mood lighting.
Week 1009 | Lighting Integration
Lecture | Understanding the Shot Lighting Requirements
In this lecture, we’ll break down the requirements of each shot and plan how we’ll go about lighting the shot.
Workshop | Integrating the Asset into the Live Action Plate
Back into Katana, we’ll now work on our hero lighting setup. We’ll also cover working with AOVs and how you can use them to assess your renders.
Assignment | Rendering your Shots and Creating a Slap Comp
This week, you’ll need to render your assigned shot and create a lighting slap comp for review.
Week 1010 | Introduction to Compositing
Lecture | It’s all in the Math
In this lecture, we’ll explore what happens under the hood when we go about blending images together.
Workshop | Creating an AOV Template
Back into Nuke, we’ll look at creating a template for the sequence, so we have more granular control of the final composite.
Assignment | Blocking out your Composite
Your task this week is to block out your composite and create your template.
Week 1011 | Finalising the Comp
Lecture | What is Photorealism?
We’ve already broken down how a camera sees the world. Now, lets’ explore the imperfections of an image, such as lens grain and lighting flares.
Workshop | Achieving Beliveable Integration in Nuke
This week, we’ll not look at how we can go about making sure our CG asset sits believably with the live action plate.
Assignment | Create a Comp Slap Comp and Breakdown
This week, we want you to present your slap comp and a breakdown of how you got to the final result.
Week 1012 | Grading the Sequence
Lecture | The Emotion of Colour
For our final lecture, we’ll explore how we can pull on the heartstrings, create moments of joy, or intense rage. All through the power of colour.
Workshop | Grading your Sequence in DaVinci Resolve
With our composite complete, we’ll look at creating a final grade for our sequence.
Assignment | Finalising your Project
It’s week 1012, and the final thing to do is complete your project, and get it handed in on time 😉
Hardware and Software Requirements
Students will be expected to provide their own computer, monitor, keyboard, mouse, digital tablet and pen. We recommend a Windows machine with a minimum spec of 2.5ghz 6-core CPU with 16GB of RAM and an NVIDIA GPU with 6GB of RAM.
Students will need to acquire their own software for this course. The applications we’ll be using will be as follows, however, please note that you are more than welcome to use any similar application.
- Maya 2023
- Nuke 13
- DaVinci Resolve
We’ll also be working within an ACEScg colour space and experiment with USD. This course is about understanding the core workflows and fundamentals for tackling VFX shots. Although we’ll be using the above applications, we’ll try to keep yhe approach as software agnostic as possible. But do also note that we’ll not be able to support you as much if you are using other applications.
Students will also need a microphone and a web-camera for live online sessions.
*Programme Fee: 5% monthly income per month
From the very beginning, our intentions at CAVE have been to provide training that is both relevant and affordable for everyone – or as close as possible to everyone – across the globe. We’ve thought long and hard about how we can achieve this, and the outcome of our internal discussions has been to go with a ‘per month percentage fee‘.
The way it works is like so:
You take 5% of your monthly income and you multiply that number by the number of months that the programme runs for. For this programme, it is 3 months (12 weeks). Please also note that this is not a free programme and the minimum cost is £45.
The maths works out like so:
<monthlyIncome> x 0.05 x 3 = <programmeCost>
- If you earn £300 a month, you take that number and multiply it by 0.05, which gives you: £15. Then you multiply that number by 3 (months), which results in a total programme cost of: £45
If you earn £1,000 a month, the total programme cost is £150
If you earn £7,000 a month, the total programme cost is £1,050
Of course, in order for this to work, we need to have trust so I’m expecting you to be honest here.
If you would like to spread the cost (1 x deposit followed by 3 x monthly payments), please get in touch with: [email protected]
Upon successful completion of the programme, students will be provided with certification from CAVE Academy stating how they have understood the fundamentals, tools, and techniques to integrate CG assets into live action shots.
If you have any questions, please get in touch and we’d be happy to organise a video meeting to discuss the programme: